Wondering how you can save money on therapy sessions in Malaysia? You’re in for good news.
In October 2021, Tengku Zafrul Aziz, Finance minister of Malaysia, announced the federal government’s plans to extend the tax benefit to cover psychotherapy consultation costs. Owing to the sharp rise in domestic violence and depression rates since the Covid-19 pandemic started, the ministry has recognized the need for covering therapy sessions in its parliamentary budget for 2022.
In response to the mental health concerns facing Malaysians today, and as a part of its mental health initiatives — the Malaysian government has allocated RM70 million towards counselling, psychosocial care, increasing advocacy programmes, and promoting civil society.
Further, Tengku Zafrul proposed that the income tax relief be available for medical examinations (currently up to RM500) be extended to cover the consultation costs of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and licensed counsellors. For each of you who are struggling to obtain mental healthcare due to financial constraints, this is great news.
Universal and Affordable Access to Mental Health is Essential
1 in 3 Malaysians has mental health issues, with the highest prevalence among those aged 16-19 years as well as those from low-income families. The stress of living in poverty can be extremely draining, and research has consistently shown that those living in poverty are at a greater risk for mental illness. At the same time, due to the high costs of therapy, it is less available to those with limited means.
The treatment system is fragmented and costly, full of barriers for those seeking it. As a result, many people are unable to access mental health care when they need it most. Several other factors also make it difficult for people to access mental healthcare.
For instance, Mental health providers are not as accessible as other medical providers. When they do find a mental health professional, many are required to go out of their insurance network to do so. In contrast to other types of primary and speciality care, mental health care has higher out-of-pocket costs. When people face higher out-of-pocket costs, it may lead to them seeking less care or going without any care at all.
WHO’s Theme for Mental Health Month This Year
The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) has declared this year’s theme to be ‘Mental Health In An Unequal World’ which centres around shunning inequality in access to and affordability of mental healthcare. That is to say, it is aimed at how to decrease the ever-increasing gap between the ‘have nots’ and the ‘haves’ and cater to the need of tending to the mental health issues of people.
The majority of people living with mental health problems in low- and middle-income countries do not get adequate treatment. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our challenges have multiplied and must be addressed on a priority basis. We need to proactively address the stigma and discrimination associated with mental ill-health that create barriers to accessing care and treatment. There was no better way to accomplish this than by relieving people of personal taxes to pay for therapies.
Malaysian Government Takes Steps to Offer Income Tax Reliefs For Psychotherapy & Counselling
Taking care of yourself or your loved ones with special needs can be an emotional as well as a financial roller-coaster. A lot of times, you require additional support in the form of special education or full-time care or equipment to make your lives relatively easier. Providing for all this can often be a financial drain on parents or guardians. In all this, some therapy centres do a small bit to support you by offering certain tax benefits.
In light of so many people lacking access to adequate mental health services, investment is more crucial than ever. The good news is that tax relief for medical care will now encompass consultations from psychiatric specialists, clinical psychologists and registered counsellors.
Most of us want to lower our taxes and if you qualify for a few tax breaks, you could do so. You can deduct a certain amount from your taxable income if you have an exemption. The more exemptions you have, the less money you’ll have to pay in taxes.
How to Qualify for the Tax Exemption?
Tax exemption details are not currently available online. But we do know they will be announced soon. Stay tuned on this page for future updates.
Soul Mechanics’ Approach to Making Mental Health Services More Accessible
Therapy is expensive. Many uninsured people live below the poverty line and are unable to pay these rates out of pocket. And we understand that.
To join the Malaysian government’s efforts to help you save money on therapy, and thereby make mental health services accessible to all — we offer sliding scale payment options. Simply put, you pay lesser than the KKM’s standard fee of MYR250 if you earn less than MYR5,000/month.
The fee depends on your financial condition. Please note that we are committed to providing quality service, so regardless of whether you opt for sliding scale pricing or not — you will receive the same support as clients that pay full price.
Factors that determine the amount that you will pay when using a sliding fee scale are:
- total net income after taxes
- the number of household dependents
- household expenses, and
- other important factors.
When you contact us, we will ask you a bunch of questions to recommend the best therapist for your use case. During that time, we encourage you to be open about your financial struggles so we can suggest sliding scale pricing for you.*
**terms and conditions apply.